When you consider the future of audio, it is significant to take a look at where the most money has being spent and what generations are valuing when they take into account their listening habits. It seems that the average high end buyer of equipment is falling in the plus 40 range and that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the reasons are their greater dispensable income.
Back 30 years ago, teenagers working part time jobs were saving to purchase stereos well into the thousands and the market segmentation was well in the lower decades. Currently, the younger generation seems to value convenience over quality and they are less inclined to devote their time into listening to music without also being otherwise engaged in some other task. It suggests that high end audio may soon, in the traditional sense, may soon be on the decline and even die out, unless it iterates itself to match the needs of a new market.
To preserve the high fidelity industry and mindset, one must first consider where the current market it at. Obviously, people are still listening to music and most are buying it, albeit generally in the form of digital files. The growth of satellite radio and personal listening devices such as iPods and smartphones confirm this. People of all ages still love music and there has never been a better time to find the music you love from a wide variety of genres. The only gap is the quality of the resolution that currently exists and that is what needs to be mitigated.
The performance of the audio products out there is as good as they’ve ever been and listeners should be made aware of this. Many young people have experienced the poor quality that is inherent in iPods and other personal listening devices and are now seeking out something more. Here is where the greatest segment of the market will lay. Those with a keen interest are moving away from the MP3 format and going in search of the better resolution of FLAC files. FLAC is a fee lossless codec that offers better replication of CD quality tracks. Today’s audiophile will look for files that are 192kHz/24-bit or similar, understanding the degradation of the typical MP3 file.
Additionally, the delivery is also essential so companies are now recognizing the need for higher quality devices and headphones and new companies are appearing on the scene to change the game. Veteran audio designers are taking notice and rising to the challenge to compete with startups. The industry is indeed being shaken up but there is absolutely no reason for it to die off. With celebrities of every generation and genre stepping up to support these products, there is a definite renaissance. Dre is promoting Beats while Quincy Jones endorses AKG and even Tony Bennett lent his name to a Koss headphone.
So the truth is that the future of high-end audio is brighter than it used to be. While the products of choice may not be racks of receivers and amplifiers coupled up with half a dozen various ranged speakers, the quality of sound still plays a significant part in today’s listeners. The industry just has to move to adapt to the new mobile style of audiophile to revive a worthwhile pleasure.